The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years. All was well—
—"Harry… Harry, dear," a voice spoke lovingly to the sleeping boy. The boy felt the person's lips on his forehead, giving him a warm kiss. "Harry, darling, it's time to get up," she said softly. "It's the first day of school."
"For... for Hogwarts?" he managed to say, his voice full of sleep, as he turned to snuggle into his pillow.
"No, dear, for school," the woman said with a hint of amusement in her voice. "You don't want to be late for your first day, do you? That would set you up for a bad reputation, don't you think? Though you are James Potter's son, so I wouldn't be surprised if you already have a bad reputation there."
The boy instantly awoke at the hearing of his father's name. He turned to the woman who sat comfortably beside him on the edge of his bed. She had thick, dark red hair that fell to her shoulders and green almond-shaped eyes. "Mum?" he asked cautiously, putting a hand on her cheek.
"Yes, my love," she replied, putting her hand over his.
Suddenly reality kicked in and Harry remembered where and who he was. He was Harry Potter, who had no magical abilities whatsoever and was not, indeed, an orphan living in the cupboard under the stairs; his parents were most definitely alive. "Nothing… it's just… I had a strange dream, that's all. And you were in it… only you were dead."
"Oh!" His mother let out a heartfelt sigh as she embraced him. "That must've been a nightmare! I'm so sorry you had to experience that, love."
"Strangely," Harry began as his mother pulled away from him and looked into the eyes that were so identical to hers, "it wasn't all that bad of a dream. Yes, there were some scary parts, but there were also some very happy parts, too. We were wizards in a magical world—actually you were called a witch—and a dark wizard, Lord Voldemort, had killed you and dad because of a prophecy or something…"
"Maybe you should write it down so you won't forget it," Lily suggested with a smile as she grabbed her son's glasses off the nightstand beside his bed and placed them on her son's face. One of the things Harry hated most out of the whole dream was not getting to see his mother's loving smile as many times as he wished to. "It may be useful someday, who knows? My eldest son might become a famous author one of these days. Me, the mother of the famous Harry Potter!"
He smiled as she placed another kiss on his forehead. "I was famous," he said with pride. "I was known as the boy who lived… because you protected me over Voldemort's spell with your love. And then later I was known as the chosen one to kill the dark wizard… because he had come back."
"Oh, I love this story more and more," she gushed. "I'd love to hear the rest of it over breakfast."
After placing one last kiss on Harry's cheek, Lily stood and walked toward the door. "Get dressed—your uniform is hanging in your closet—and meet me down stairs in the kitchen. I have made a nutritious meal for you in honor of your first day of school and I'd hate for it to go to waste."
Harry nodded and Lily left the room. He quickly got out of his bed and went over to the desk in the corner of his room. He rummaged through his drawers, looking for a quill—er, a pencil—to write down his dream on paper.
He had gotten to the part where Hagrid had brought him to Number Four Privet Drive when he heard his mother calling him to the kitchen. He decided to stop and get ready for school to prevent any future scolding from his mother. He found his uniform—freshly ironed, thanks to his mother—neatly hanging in his closet. He quickly put on his uniform then ran to the bathroom to brush the untidy hair he had inherited from his father and to freshen his breath before rushing down to eat his mother's delicious food.
"Slow down… This is a kitchen, not a play area," said a deep and all too recognizable voice.
"Snape," Harry said, glaring at the man sitting at the kitchen table, hiding behind the non-magical newspaper.
Severus folded the newspaper to look at the boy who called him by his last name. "You're not still mad about last night, are you?" he said with a hint of annoyance in his voice. "You broke the rules and stayed out after curfew—not to mention it was the night before school started—with that bloody Weasley boy and got in a whole mess of trouble. I don't know what your father allows you to do at his house—probably have candy for dinner and spend the evening howling at the moon with those horrid friends of his—but in my house we have rules! And breaking those rules come with consequences. So stop complaining! You deserve to be grounded. Now sit down and eat… We have fifteen minutes until it's time to leave for school."
He unfolded the newspaper and continued reading.
"Yes, sir," Harry said, taking a seat at the table where a plate full of food lay in front of him. Harry knew better than to talk back to his stepfather. He was a strict man; a strict man who cared about his family and, though he was harsh when doing it, only thought of their safety when setting rules and punishments. And Harry did understand why his Stepfather had punished him last night, though he was still mad that it happened. He and his best friend Ron had decided to make the most of their last day of freedom, as Ron had referred to it, by doing everything an eleven year-old kid should do before school started. That included spending all their allowance on every candy they got their hands on, having a pool party at the local swimming center with all their other friends—including that new girl, who's kind of a push over, Hermione—and finally hanging out with all his friends, running around the streets of London creating a ruckus wherever they went… and ignoring curfew.
So when he had finally made it back home, an hour after curfew, Harry wasn't surprised when his mother and her husband, Snape, were waiting for him in the living room. And Harry wasn't surprised when they both gave him a stern lecture about the rules in the house and how he should follow them. But Harry was surprised when Snape had grounded him for two weeks for disobeying his curfew rule… Besides, Snape wasn't his father; he was his stepfather. Snape had no right punishing him like that and his mother had no right sitting there and agreeing with her husband like it was the right thing to do. When Harry expressed his thoughts towards the two adults in a rude and accusing way, he wasn't surprised when Snape scolded him again and sent him up to his room without any dinner. Harry didn't care. He was filled up on candy, anyway.
As Harry picked up the toast that lay on his breakfast plate, he stared at the man who hid behind the newspaper titled The Telegraph. The top story had a non-magical picture of Her Majesty the Queen waving to a crowd, as she stood behind St. Mary's Hospital with the caption 'THE QUEEN DONATES' above in large letters with the story below it.
"Er, sir," Harry said awkwardly. Once again the man unfolded the paper and looked at the boy. "I just… I wanted to apologize for the way I acted last night. I had no right in yelling at you that way when you were only thinking of my safety."
The older man stared at the boy suspiciously as he tossed his newspaper down on the kitchen table. "If you're trying to get me to shorten your punishment, if that is your game here, you have failed."
"No," Harry replied. "I deserve my punishment… I stayed out after seven o clock, disobeying you and my mother's rules." He could feel the older man staring at him as he began eating his eggs.
"Are you alright, Harry," Severus asked with a tone of concern in his voice.
"Yeah, I'm fine," he said with a mouthful of eggs.
"Well… I'm glad you know why I punished you," his stepfather said with a cough. "Maybe next time you'll learn to call when you're running late… or not show up late at all."
"Yes, sir, I will," he promised with a smile.
Severus smiled back at him, looking deep into his stepson's eyes. "You do something ridiculously stupid like disobey me, then you apologize for it? What's gotten into you, Potter? If I didn't know any better, I'd say you're growing up."
"I just know that when you set these rules—whether I like them or not—they're only for my safety," Harry explained, "and all you're really trying to do is look out for me. So thank you, Snape."
"Interesting," said Snape.
Just then, Harry's mother walked into the kitchen with a little boy half asleep in her arms. She walked over and picked up Harry's dirty plate off the table and placed it into the sink. "What's interesting, dear," she asked as she sat down, the little boy still in her arms. "Did Harry tell you about his dream?"
"No." Snape said simply. "Lily, love, get this. Your son just apologized for his wrongful actions… without being forced."
"It's a miracle," Lily joked with a chuckle, turning to Harry.
"You were saying something about a dream, Lily," Snape noted. "Maybe that's the reason why he's acting so… off."
"I want to hear the dream," the little boy sitting on Lily's lap whined. "What dream? Harry, tell me your dream, please."
The little boy was the exact copy of Severus Snape. He had his father's black eyes and raven colored hair, and his noticeably large—though the boy's was a bit smaller—hooked nose. The boy was always compared to his father in looks, like Harry was to James, but Harry's half brother was far more fun to be around than Severus Snape. He always came in laughing and always brought laughter out of people, unlike Snape, who put koala bears to sleep.
"Sydney," said Lily, looking down at the boy, "be patient, you'll get to hear the dream eventually."
"Well, it was a rather vivid dream," Harry started. "It started when I was an infant… You, dad and I were hiding from a dark wizard—we lived in this magical world where there were Wizards and Witches—but he found us, thanks to Wormtail…"
"Who?" Lily asked.
"Peter Petigrew, one of dad's friends," Harry explained. Lily nodded, knowing who Harry was talking about. "And you and dad were killed by him, Lord Voldemort, because he wanted to kill me but you tried to stop him. When he did point his wand at me, the spell back fired and he died instead and left me a lightning bolt scar on my forehead." He touched his forehead. No scar.
"But that was only the beginning," he continued. "I was there for seven years… It all seemed so real."
"Seven books for seven years," his mother commented with a smile.
"Or eight movies," Sydney said laughing.
Harry smiled, but it quickly faded when the kitchen door behind him burst open. Then his dad, James Potter, poked his head inside. "Good mornin' all," he said gleefully.
"We have a front door, you know," Snape commented, unamused. He turned his attention back to his newspaper. He never seems too interested when James Potter pops by for a visit.
Sirius and Remus popped their heads in too. "Hello," they said together. The three walked inside and sat down next to Harry, despite Snape's disapproving snarl.
"James," said Lily. She tried to sound stern. After all, this was Snape's house and she knows how much he loathes unannounced house guests—especially when it's James. But James was Harry's father and they deserve to spend as much time together as possible. "You promised you would call whenever you felt the need to see Harry." While James was getting scolded, Remus and Sirius were keeping Sydney entertained with the disappearing napkin trick.
"I know, I know," James said, "but it's Harry's first day of school. The least I can do is send the boy off."
"I'm taking him," said Snape, his eyes never leaving the paper.
"With all do respect, Snivellus—"
"James!" said Lily.
"Severus," James corrected, "I'm his father... and I would like to take Harry to school today."
"Sev," Lily said softly, "he is Harry's father. Besides you'll be taking him most days anyway. Let James take Harry today."
"Of course." Snape's tone of voice made it seem like he was angry, but his face looked as if he could care less. He seemed focused on the article in front of him.
Lily gave Harry a sweet and tender kiss. "Goodbye, love," she said. "Make new friends and don't get into too much trouble with Headmaster Dumbledore."
"I wouldn't worry about him, Harry. He's always had a soft spot for us Potter folk," said James. "It's McGonagall you have to look out for." Then, lowering his voice, making sure Lily couldn't hear, he added, "And that Snape fellow, too. Heard he's an ass!"
Snape's eyebrow rose, indicating that he heard that last little bit, unlike his wife, who was happily feeding her youngest child.
"Dumbledore? McGonagall?" said Harry. (Usually he would play along in his dad's games, but he was too focused on that dream.) He was now being escorted out of the house by Sirius and Remus. "They were in my dream too, as professors."
"Sounds like a nightmare," joked James.
At school, Harry and Ron were sitting together. School had yet to begin and the children outside were hanging on to the last bit of freedom they had. "Mum got on me last night. Said I had to start acting more like Percy. Percy!Can you imagine? Not even Percy wants to be Percy." He was already eating the lunch his mother had packed for him. "What about you, Harry," he asked with a mouthful of salami.
"What?" He was still distracted by his dream. It all seemed so real.
"Can't imagine what kind of torture Snape put you through last night," Ron said. He didn't seem to notice something was bothering Harry. "It's bad enough he'll be teaching us this year... but you have to go home with him!"
He fell silent as Snape walked past them. He brought a chill to any child who encounters him. The students made sure to behave extra good whenever he was near.
"Why does he always wear black," Ron continued in a whisper. Snape was long gone, but his scent still lingered. "He reminds me of my priest."
"He's not all that bad," Harry said.
Ron looked at him, shocked. So maybe Snape was a terrible guy, who dressed like a widow in mourning, but he had some good qualities too... Harry just can't think of any right now.
"Harry, he's brainwashed you," said Ron. His hands went to Harry's head.
"Will you stop," Harry laughed.
"Mr Potter," said a strict voice behind them. McGonagall stood behind them, wearing—to Harry's surprise—a dark blue dress and a sweater. She wore a nice pearl necklace around her neck. Kind of fancy for school, thought Harry. "I do hope you take after your mother," she said, gesturing towards his untucked shirt, "otherwise it will be a very long year... for both of us." She turned her heal, moving towards the school, and added, "And please inform your friend that his tie goes around his neck, not around his head."
"She looks weird in regular clothing," Harry made the mistake of saying.
"What?" Ron was removing the tie around his head.
"You know... without her robes."
"You've seen McGonagall in robes?" Ron smirked, intrigued by this new bit of information.
"Never mind," Harry said, embarrassed.
"Whatever." He let out a small laugh, but seemed to quickly lose interest. Instead he focused on his lunch.
Eventually he did tell Ron about his dream, but he didn't seem to really care, so he pushed it to the back of his mind. After school ended, he was forced to stay in Snape's classroom and do his homework until Snape was ready to leave. Why this man had to give out ten page assignments on the first day of school, Harry didn't know. The only person who seemed to be excited about it was Hermione... and no one, not even Snape, was surprised by that.
Snape had finally finished grading and he was ready to leave. They were silent on the car drive home. Snape was never a man of many words, Harry found out long ago. Harry was glad of that. He didn't want to bond with the man. His mother wanted them too (and Snape has attempted to bond with Harry, for the sake of making his Lily happy), but both really don't seem interested in one another at all. They get along simply because Lily wants them too.
At supper, Lily was telling an interesting occurrence at the store this morning. "It was weird," she said. "It was like all the cans just fell over by themselves. I didn't know what to say to the man... How do you explain such an occurrence?"
"Magic perhaps," said Snape. Harry could feel Snape's eyes on him.
Snape was making fun of him, Harry knew, but Lily didn't seem to notice, for she went on to say, "I didn't think of that! Harry, do you suppose it could have been magic?"
Harry raised an eyebrow. They can't be serious. "It was just a dream, mum," he said. "Those cans probably fell off because they were stacked wrong or something."
"I think it was magic," said Sydney.
"Me too!" Lily tapped the tip of Sydney's nose lightly and he giggled.
Changing the subject, Lily asked how the first day of school was.
"Great," Harry said sarcastically. "I've got a teacher who hands out ten page assignments on the first day. He also gives out way too much homework."
"And I've got a student who fails to read his books ahead of time," Snape snapped back. "He also spends too much time talking to that Weasley boy and not enough time paying attention. God knows he needs to." They glared at each other.
"Harry, don't start at the table," commanded Lily.
"Me? He just called me dumb and you're taking his side?" Harry said that a bit harsher than he had intended.
"I'm not taking anyone's side," she said. "But you started it, so you will end it."
"Sorry," Harry mumbled. He was getting tired of this family already. He was getting tired of Snape already. Maybe he was ready to visit the wizarding world again... or maybe even with the Dursleys.
"My apologies, Mr. Potter," said Snape. It sounded cruel to Harry, but his mother seemed satisfied.
"Good. Now that we're all friends again"—Harry rolled his eyes at this—"let's enjoy each other's company."
Later that night, Harry was in his room, working hard on his story. It was all he could think about all day, but soon realized he would not be able to finish it all in one night. This whole story was something way bigger than he expected; it was a whole other world in his mind.
"Doing your homework, I hope," said Lily. Harry turned around and saw his mother.
"Er"—he covered his story up with his science book—"Yeah… just getting a head start for tomorrow," he said, pretending to read a paragraph in Snape's long boring book.
Lily laughed. "My son—the son of the notorious James Potter—studying? Now that's a sight I thought I'd never see."
Harry smiled, almost let out a chuckle, and she kissed his forehead, on the scar that no longer existed. "Bed time," Lily said, leading Harry to his bed. "Maybe you'll have that dream again."
"Maybe this is the dream," he said, mostly to himself.
"I hope not," she said, tucking him in. "Not having your mother nagging at you to do your homework is no world I want you living in." They laughed and Lily placed one last gentle kiss on Harry's forehead. "Good night, Harry," she said.
Harry yawned and rested his head on his pillow. He felt his mother's hands removing his glasses. "Night," he breathed, exhausted.
"May you have pleasant dreams, my darling," she said in a soft whisper.
Harry opened his eyes; Ron and Hermione were staring at him. Neither of them looked worried, nor angry, but Hermione did look a bit annoyed. His body ached all over and all he wanted to do was roll over and go back to sleep. So he did just that.
"Honestly, how long does one wizard need to sleep," said Hermione.
"A wizard who just defeated the dark lord? A bloody damn lot, Hermione!"
"We've already pushed back the party—"
"What?" said Harry, who had been listening. He sat up, his head pounding.
"See what you've done," said Ron, "gone and woken him up."
"Sorry, Harry," Hermione apologized.
"That's alright," Harry said, looking around. "Where are we?"
Hermione and Ron looked at each other curiously. "The Burrow," said Ron.
Harry watched in amazement as a floating blanket folded itself. After the blanket was folded properly, it floated down, gently landing on the bed. It was almost like he was witnessing magic for the first time.
"Harry?" Hermione said, watching Harry watch the blanket. "Are you alright?"
He took one last long look at the blanket then turned to his friends. They both looked worried. "Yeah… yeah, I'm excellent, actually," Harry replied. "Weird dream… that's all."